Artists: French contemporary digital artists and multimedia choreographers Adrien M & Claire B (2015)
“XYZT: Abstract Landscapes” is a combination of 10 different works, each consisted of its own mathematical algorithm that responds to the movement of visitors. Once contact is made to the touch screen either by hand or foot, the sensors trigger the cloud of pixels to form certain shapes. For instance, the pixels might mimic the person that is standing in front of it.
One of the most famous work from the XYZT series is called the “Letter Tree.” The algorithms form a letter tree that drift its letters across the touch panel as the algorithmically formulated wind blows on them. The artists tried to recreate the question of whether wind can compose poems or not into an artwork.
The most fascinating aspect about XYZT is the interactivity of the piece. The artist’s aim to express distortion of shapes and meanings really came alive through the digital medium. Now that the mathematical algorithms could respond to the thousands of distortions viewers touch to make, it was a matter of time for the artists and the viewers to understand the different ways the shapes got distorted and most importantly have fun.
Dreamlines is an interactive artwork created in 2005 by Leonardo Solaas. Unfortunately, it is no longer functional due to changing technologies. However, a user was once able to enter a series of words that describe a dream they would like to dream, and this program would search for these words in google images and use the results to generate what the artist called an “ambiguous painting, in perpetual change, where elements fuse into one another, in a process analogous to memory and free association.”
One thing I admire about this project is how the use of found images adds to the uncanny quality of the moving paintings that makes them so dreamlike. We don’t know when the photos were taken or anything about the subjects or the photographer. We don’t know if they’re dead or alive – and if they’re dead, how they died. Like in dreams, our imagination can turn something innocent (a woman standing on a porch) into a nightmare.
The artist describes the algorithm for the videos on his website. The video is comprised of 1500 autonomous particles in perpetual movement – movement whose velocity is determined by the color value of the pixel it is “stepping” on. The hue, saturation and brightness of the pixel somehow translate to angle and speed values for the particle.
The code combines the unpredictable data presented by the keywords that users enter, an algorithm that randomly selects images from Google, and a logical, predictable function on the color values of the pixels to create perpetual motion and chaos. This method is meant to reflect the processes that take place in our heads – in some ways unpredictable and emotional but actually just a series of electrical impulses, each one determined by physical conditions.
Waves is a generative art installation created in 2016 by LIA. It was shown in part with a live concert, “Blades,” by @c. There is little information about this particular work but it’s given that the waves are generated through sin functions that slowly build on top of each other to create more complex forms and movements. What I personally am attracted to in this piece is how abstract it is. Even though there is the color scheme and motions that reference waves, it doesn’t seem like a literal representation. There are moments where the lines almost look pixel-y and scale-like because of how sharp the edges of the line become due to distortion of the functions.
This distortion is part of the artistic style. I think it’s a conceptual nod to the characteristics of generative art: how we are now using technology to replicate nature and abstract beauty. While it’s impressive to create completely generative installations, it’s also nice to be reminded that technology can’t perfectly replicate nature so characteristics like pixels are highlighted. I do not however agree with the choice for it to serve as a literal backdrop to the band. I felt like it cheapened the value of the artwork itself as it went from having a conceptual purpose to being a background to a main performance. But maybe I wouldn’t think this if the documentation included the music of the band to create a more atmospheric experience.
Andante is an augmented reality program intended for developing beginner skills in piano playing. In developing this learning program, Hiroshi Ishii and Xiao Xiao regarded human experiences and histories from the somatic perspective — constant consideration was put towards recognizing the rhythmic flow of the human gait, and applying this consideration towards learning musical notations. This emphasis on the body-mind is reflected in Ishii’s and Xiao’s other new media art work, as they develop spaces, messages, and tools that rely on direct human interaction. As a designer focused on the human sciences and transitions to futures, I’m interested in Andante‘spotential as a person-based contribution towards futures-learning — does the human soma need increased priority in the design process?
This is a video of a capture of one of the search strings used to create Dreamlines, an interactive net-art work created by Leonardo Solaas in 2005. The search word for this particular video was “plum.”
Leonardo is both an artist and a programmer. He states that, “The user enters one or more words that define the subject of a dream he would like to dream.” At the same time, one cannot be sure whether they are observing their dream, or the computer’s dream and thought process. There is no definitive answer to this uncertainty, just as dreams can be very general and not make logical sense.
I find it beautiful that even an electronically generated work can mimic patterns in nature. This artwork reminds me of spider webs, bacteria, mold, and other organic forms. However I did notice that the more I picked out single curves and lines in the work, I became more aware of its unnaturalness. I realized that enjoyed it when I saw it as an organism rather than what looked like an imitation of a living thing.
Creator: Julius Popp
Year of Creation: 2008
Link to the project: https://collabcubed.com/2012/01/09/julius-popp-bit-fall-bit-code-bit-flow/
Julius Popp’s Bit.Flow is an installation where a machine pumps a small amount of liquids into a 45-m long, intertwined tube with specific time intervals. At first, the manner in which these liquids are pumped seem disorderly and chaotic, but at some point, these small pumps of liquid at different parts of the tube line up in an orderly fashion to form a certain letter. The letter then quickly disintegrates back into a chaos until another letter pops up among the seemingly random movements of the liquids.
There are multiple variations to this project: it could be hung from the wall as well as laid on the floor. Different colors of the liquid and shapes of the tube could be used.
The part that intrigued me the most was how computer generated programs were used to not only to pump the liquid at a very precise time intervals that enabled the letters to pop up at a certain time and place but also to reenact the random motions that seem to be able to exist only in the non-digital realm. In general, I enjoyed the little discoveries of order among the chaotic movements of the liquids. It seemed magical that these letters were popping out of nowhere without any patterns or warnings.
My guess is that an algorithm is set up to control the time at which the machine pumps out the liquids. These time intervals probably vary from a project to project according to the shape and the length of the tube.
Along with his other well-known project, Bit.Fall, Bit.Flow is supposed to represent how quickly the things that are important to us change, and how fast the things that were important to us become meaningless. According to Popp, these works symbolize the personhood that “changes permanently” as well as the cultures that is “changing the whole time”.
The generative design studio, Nervous System, is founded by Jessica Rosenkrantz and Jesse Louis Rosenberg. They create art, jewelry, decorations and usable houseware using computer simulation and digital fabrication. Rosenkrantz studied architecture at Harvard Graduate school, I recognize architectural elements and find it very inspiring that she utilized many of the techniques and study of space into her jewelry and the design of smaller everyday items. In the Nervous System Mission Statement, they say: “Our inspirations are grounded in the natural forms and corresponding processes which construct the world around us.” In their work they draw geometries found in nature and evolve those forms into physical, interactive pieces.
Hyphae Zoetrope Project (2014)
This is one of the projects Nervous System has created. This project is nylon 3D printed by Selective Laser Sintering, MDF, electronics, and LEDs. This is created by an algorithm that follows the geometries of leaves. These leaves are attached to a central point and follows the progression of leaves growing as it spins.
artist: ralf baecker
title: random access memory
Turmite algorithm (based on a two dimensional operating system)
Random Access Memory is based on a binary system where the robot tries to fill up the system with as many “1”s as possible without overloading the system (1, being stone). These sand grains are placed in algorithmic placements as to create a sense of controlled randomness. It interests me to see the joining of simplicity and complexity through this project. The sand placement system is a fairly simple algorithm, however the result of the simple function is a complex grouping of grains spread out neatly in a disc formation that is ever-changing.
The artist, Ralf Baecker, is an artist that works to connect and intersect art, science, and technology. Through his works we are able to see both a technological aspect that shows the advancement of humanity, as well as traditional notions that keep us in touch with our history. In Random Access Memory, there is a mix of the two timelines which, I believe, brings us to ponder about how we should we advancing as people.
Digital Grotesque II is a 3D printed grotto that was assembled in 2017, after about 2 years of designing and printing individual parts. The algorithmic architectural structure created by the architect Michael Hansmeyer is known for its intricate details and plethora of geometries that form the architecture. The project is a phenomenal piece that through its complexity captivates the viewer and bestows an unparalleled experience. The project is made of 7 tons of 3D printed sandstone. For its size, it is usual for such projects to be dull and rather lofty, but Digital Grotesque II defeats such a common notion with its details completely generated by computational design and algorithms.
From the most minute details to the whole form are entirely made through algorithms in the Digital Grotesque. Although the specific divisional ratios are not specified, the project was generated through subdivisions. As you can see in the video directly below, different division ratios allow for nearly infinite possibilities, hence the dynamic, mind-blowing design of the project. Although the algorithms are surely organized and planned, the endless variations bestow an element of “randomness”.
Hansmeyer’s computational architecture is deeply rooted in perspectives and perceptions. The specific, single divisional algorithm that he uses reflects these concentrations. The algorithm creates interesting, engaging topographies that are subject to interpretation by the users. The method itself does not involve randomness, but the output does, so the author of the project is anticipating the public to be able to physically experience his work and add their personal thoughts. This trend is also parallel to the continuity of Digital Grotesque II. Even the smallest details acknowledgeable and are part of the whole enclosure and form the experience of the project’s users.
The Digital Grotesque II definitely explores the potential in computational architecture and defies the notion that technology is not advanced enough to articulate intricate details. In fact, the specific project clearly shows how algorithms and 3D printing skills can actually produce details that traditional methods could not while maintaining quality and high resolution.
More information on the Digital Grotesque II can be found on its website:
There is a flow field simulation, “Addition/ Subtraction”, by Robert Hodgin in 2010, that attracts me a lot when I was browsing many generative artwork. Compared to other programing art that I have looked at, Robert Hodgin’s works are the most artistics and aesthetics. Actually, the title and the image drew my attention towards it at first. When I also saw the image of the artwork, I kind of feel the addition and subtraction in it. Then, I looked into the explanation that describes the artwork. The idea that this flow field simulation is generated from C++ vectors and lists surprised me because at the first sight, I can’t figure out how to do such a digital art. Also, the amount of work made me admire me a lot. “It involves 20,000 particles which react to external forces and can be reborn locally if they should happen to stray too far”. So, if the programmer gives it an attractive force (gravity), those particles will be pulled together. If the programmer gives it a repulsive force, those particles will, on the other hand, be pushed away in the rotating motion, either clockwise or counterclockwise. The idea of using the beauty of force to create the feeling of addition and subtraction really gives meaning to this work, making it not only a program but an artwork.